Anton Reijnders (1955, Venray, NL) graduated at the Fine art Academy in ‘s-Hertogenbosh in 1981. He participated in exhibitions throughout the world and contributed to conferences and symposia and has given lectures in Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA. He has contributed to the creation of what in 1991 was to become the European Ceramic Work Center ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. As head of studios and workshops of the EKWC Reijnders was involved in dialogue with artists from all over the world. He was the driving force behind setting up the material research programme and is author of the book ‘The Ceramic Process’ jointly with the EKWC published by A&C Black in London, and Pennsylvania Press in the USA. He has been three times visiting professor in the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
Currently he is teaching at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (BFA), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Because a medium mediates intrinsic meaning and assumptions we somehow have to deal with, whether we like it or not. Probably because ceramics is a medium with a long history, it brings with it a wide range of meanings and assumptions like: dirt / earth / affordable / low-status / hygienic / domestic / durable / fragile / non-heroic / haptic / sensual / responsive / fixed / identity-less / craft / hobby / high-tech / pleasing / precious / mass-producible. It is this large and partly conflicting range of meanings and assumptions that makes ceramics as an artistic medium so interesting.
It takes effort to maintain a dialogue. As David Bohm states: Dialogue is only possible if we accept we don’t know the outcome of our conversation and provided we are willing to examine our assumptions. We easily slip into discussions or monologues due to a fixation on a particular outcome or because we are unaware of our assumptions. Dialogue and creativity have a lot in common.
We often tend to get involved in a problem-solving cycle because our thoughts and wishes are largely based upon what should have been or will be. This seems to be the way we are conditioned. Creativity, on the other hand, is at its core, not about problem-solving. Creativity is linked to our ability to be open to opportunities that reach beyond a projected outcome. This distinguishes creation from production.
Our lives are marked by a fixation on efficiently achieving results. But to achieve results in an efficient way the outcome has to be fixed and wonderment has to be oppressed. As a result, we only harvest that which we crave, often less.
More and more we see a focus on production and consumption. But a man-made product had to be created first before it could be produced and consumed. Creation is a vital entity in society. A society that focuses only on production and consumption is decadent and will become insignificant in time.
We are led to believe that our desires, wishes and dreams are central in this world and we full-heartedly embrace the notion that everything should be constantly and immediately available. We, indeed, have become consummate consumers. But we have yet to solve one critical issue: there are certain things in this world that, by nature, cannot be ordered up. Personal growth for example, is only possible when you are available to it.
To get inspired and to inspire are the most powerful abilities of mankind.